Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Consumer Electronics Show- The Vehicles

Electric Concept Car- Audi Urban

One of the more surprising aspects of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the number of automobiles that are on display.  A car is a machine, that needs oil and fuel, and drives in the snow and rain.  Cars are not like computers or TVs right?  Well, actually it is all of the above.  Just ask the thankful parents that never hear "Are we there yet?" from their children happily viewing their favorite programs on seat mounted TVs in the back seat.  The amount of technology and programing that goes in to modern vehicles is staggering and extremely complex.  They truly are computers on wheels.  And in fact unveiling new technologies within an automobile is a great way to garner attention at the CES.

There are a few trends in cars right now.  Voice recognition and activation, and heads up displays are going to be a part the driving experience in the years to come.  These will allow you to make phone calls, listen and reply to emails and texts, and see all functionality of the vehicle all while keeping your eyes on the road.  There are various services and devices that will allow you to do this currently, but these advancements are begining to be baked into new models and concept vehicles, so in the future they will most likely come standard.

Another major trend is toward hybrids and electric vehicles.  These technologies have been coming very slowly and ploddingly out of the major auto manufacturers, but there is no denying that they see the interest in it from the marketplace.  It seems as if they are dragging thier feet rolling this technologies out, but there are still many issues that need to be ironed out before electric vehicles will be completely viable.  Mostly storage issues with battery size, and also range between charges.  One real cool advancement at the CES was wireless vehicle charging.  Think if those wireless charging pads for your cell phone or ipod, but laying on your garage floor to fill up your electric car.  No more need to physically plug your car in over night.  This kind of innovation will help with public perception and adoption.

In the years to come the connection between the home and the car is going to grow stronger and stronger.  Your home and automobile will quite litereally communicate with each other, possibly to open the garage door as you come home, turn on your lights, or remind you to buy milk on the way home when your fridge is empty.  At some point, many believe that as battery storage capacity improves, the automobile will power the home.  The drivers seat of your car will become a home office of sorts, increasing productivity and connectivity, whether we like it or not.  Some of the sanctuary of going for a long drive in the country might be lost, but that might be a tradeoff most of us are willing to make.

Any way you cut it, new cars are exhibiting and in some ways providing innovations.  And there were several on display throughout the CES.  Here are a few that I found interesting, or thought looked to coolest...

 What better way to show off your radar detecting equipement than have a shiny yellow Lamborghini on display?  That is what Cobra did, learn more about their technology here.

Above is the Audi Urban Concept Car, learn more about it here.

Porsche 911 - Blackberry QNX Concept Car

This Porsche is compatible with BlackBerry and runs a QNX platform.  Learn more about it here.

Can-Am Spyder with Massive Audio speakers
This is actually the Massive Audio booth, but they tricked out this Can-Am Spyder with what I assume are weather proof speakers...



Tesla Roadster- Charging on a Wireless Charger


Here is a Tesla Roadster actually using a wireless charging station by Powermat.

Ford EVOS - Concept Vehicle
Below and Left are pictures of the Ford Evos concept car.  Learn more about it here

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